HUNTINGTON — As Marshall center Levi Brown left the podium following Saturday’s 30-27 overtime win over FIU, he had a simple message for linebacker Omari Cobb, who awaited his turn.
“Omari, I love you, man,” Brown said before giving him a hug on the way out the door.
“I love you, too, bro,” Cobb said as he walked up for his interview session.
The differences between the two are plenty. Brown is an offensive leader who is a bit more outgoing while Cobb is more reserved with his nature while serving as a defensive leader.
Still, there are two things that bring them together: the love of football and the love for winning.
Together, each had a big hand in ensuring that they left happy as they walked off the field following their final game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Brown, who walked out to call the coin toss to start the overtime session, said it was the defense who provided the spark for the extra period by getting a stop, which gave the offense momentum.
“There’s no great offense without a great defense,” Brown said. “We couldn’t have done that if our defense didn’t get a stop. When they made that stop, we knew they had done their job, so it was our turn to do ours. Those guys put us in the position to make a really big play happen to win the game.”
Brown said the third-down stop forced FIU into a situation in which it had two choices — each of which had risks. The Panthers chose the safe play and went up by a field goal, but left the door open and gave the home-standing Herd momentum.
“Knowing that they have to play their card — either go for it on fourth and come up with possibility no points or seven or kick a field goal and go up three — the emotion was there,” Brown said. “It’s something we looked forward to — hopefully hold them to three and we did. Whenever that happened, there was some blood in the water and our offense was ready to go and ready to have the opportunity to make a huge play like we did.”
The offensive line got much of the credit for opening its biggest hole of the game for Knox, who rumbled to the 1-yard line to set up his own game-winner, but Brown said it went much further than that.
It was all 11 guys executing in the game’s most critical situation.
“That’s the tight ends blocking on the outside, receivers blocking on the outside,” Brown said. “That’s a complete team effort. You just can’t thank those guys enough for going out there and laying their bodies on the line every single play to make a play happen, regardless of whether the ball is coming to them or not.”
Whether offense or defense, it was a game that many of those seniors will never forget — a game in which the final play leads to a walk-off win.
Senior linebacker Tyler Brown, a Huntington native, joked that he’d rather it never go into overtime, but the ending was something he’ll never forget.
“It’s a cool win,” Tyler Brown said. “That’s the first game I’ve ever had in overtime in college. I’ve never experienced it before and I didn’t even know the rules, to be honest with you. I had to ask what was going to happen.”
Cobb, who had earlier joked that Brown’s post-game talk was making him emotional, said that once that third-down stop was made, he knew the offense would take care of the rest.
“I trust the offense so much and I see them go to work so much that when the game is on the line, they are going to do what they have to do,” Cobb said. “Seeing them guys go to work every day, I just knew something was going to happen that was meant to be — especially on a special day like this.”